International Security, Winter 2006/07 (Volume 31, Issue 3)
The Perils of Profiling: Civil War Spoilers and the Collapse of Intrastate Peace Accords by Kelly M. Greenhill, Solomon Major
In a highly influential article in International Security, Stephen Stedman introduced a model of "civil war spoilers," which focused valuable attention on the generally underappreciated role of elites in determining the course of negotiations and in implementing intrastate peace accords. For all its virtues, however, the spoiler model did not suggest the best set of strategies for deterring or defeating those who might seek to undermine peace processes. This is because context-specific and actor-specific measures tend to affect diplomatic instruments only at the margin and because, while spoiler type does not change over time, actors' commitment to fulfilling the provisions of peace accords often does; thus these static characteristics cannot be the critical variables the spoiler model suggests they are. Instead, as a detailed reexamination of three of Stedman's case studies (i.e., Angola, Mozambique, and Cambodia) demonstrates, a capabilities-based model offers a more parsimonious and generalizable explanation for why, when, and under what conditions actors who seek to undermine the peace will emerge or retreat. As such, the real key to deterring and defeating would-be spoilers lies in the possession and exercise of the material power to coerce or co-opt them, rather than in the capacity to discern their true character or personality type.
Failing States, Rising Warlords
Warlordism in Comparative Perspective by Kimberly Marten
Warlordism creates significant problems in failed states: it impedes the development of stable and secure societies, thwarts economic growth, and creates new threats to international security. Through a comparative study of four seemingly disparate casesmedieval Europe, Republican China, and Somalia and Afghanistan in the mid-2000sit is possible to develop an inductive, generalizable definition of warlordism. Warlordism emerges when armed men seize small slices of territory in disintegrating states for their own benefit, using charisma and patronage ties to cement their local authority, and disrupting commerce and investment through their fragmentary rule. Two causal factors were necessary for the demise of warlordism in medieval Europe and Republican China: the presence of a powerful and aggrieved economic interest group, and the appearance of a transformative idea from outside the existing system that supported the interest group's actions. If this same causal relationship holds true today, then warlordism will be more quickly eliminated in Somalia than in Afghanistan. The international community can take action to help eliminate warlordism, but change ultimately depends on domestic factors and will likely be violent.
Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State Building, and the Politics of Coping by Ken Menkhaus
Zones of state failure are assumed to be anarchic. In reality, communities facing the absence of an effective state authority forge systems of governance to provide modest levels of security and rule of law. Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in Somalia, where an array of local and regional governance arrangements have emerged since the 1991 collapse of the state. The Somalia case can be used both to document the rise of governance without government in a zone of state collapse and to assess the changing interests of local actors seeking to survive and prosper in a context of state failure. The interests of key actors can and do shift over time as they accrue resources and investments; the shift "from warlord to landlord" gives some actors greater interests in governance and security, but not necessarily in state revival; risk aversion infuses decisionmaking in areas of state failure; and state-building initiatives generally fail to account for the existence of local governance arrangements. The possibilities and problems of the "mediated state model," in which weak states negotiate political access through existing local authorities, are considerable.
The Path to Intractability: Time and the Entrenchment of Territorial Disputes by Ron E. Hassner
Why do territorial disputes become more difficult to resolve over time? Why are states often unable to resolve long-standing territorial disputes over land that is of little strategic or economic value? One explanation for territorial dispute entrenchment draws on changes in dispute perception. Specifically, as territorial disputes mature they undergo processes that increase the integrity of the disputed territory, clarify the definition of the territory's boundaries, and make it more difficult to find substitutes for the territory. Territorial dispute resolution is both stochastic and exogenous to the entrenchment process and thus impossible to predict. It is possible, however, to forecast ex ante the degree to which young territorial disputes are likely to resist resolution efforts in the future based on two variables: perceptions of a territory's integrity, boundaries, and value at the outset of the dispute, and physical constraints on expansion and settlement into the territory.
When Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors: Fixed Borders, State Weakness, and International Conflict by Boaz Atzili
Since the end of World War II, the norm of fixed bordersthe proscription against foreign conquest and annexation of homeland territoryhas gained prevalence in world politics. Although the norm seeks to make the world a more peaceful place, it may instead cause it to become more conflict prone. Among sociopolitically weak statesstates that lack legitimate and effective governmental institutionsfixed borders can actually increase instability and conflict. Adherence to the norm of fixed borders can lead to the perpetuation and exacerbation of weakness in states that are already weak or that have just gained independence. It does so by depriving states of what was traditionally the most potent incentive to increase efforts of state building: territorial pressures. By creating conditions that are rife for the spillover of civil wars and by supplying opportunities for foreign predation, sociopolitically weak states in a world of fixed borders have become a major source of interstate conflict in much of the developing world. Investigation into one case, the war in Congo, reveals the plausibility and the potential force of this argument. Good fences indeed can make bad neighbors.
The Short Shadow of U.S. Primacy? by Jeffrey S. Lantis, Tom Sauer, James J. Wirtz, Keir A. Lieber, Daryl G. Press